REVIEW: DX9 D13 Montana (part 2)

It’s time for part two of our DX9 Montana review! In part one we already took a gander at that Lamborghini Countach alt’ mode, and ascertained that some of the improvement pieces available in the box went at least some way to mitigating the unfortunate first impression I had of this guy back in my Unboxing video. So, now it’s time to get him transformed up and check out that robot mode!

The process of doing so is really rather simple, all told. To their credit, DX9 have crafted a fairly fluid conversion for Montana, with probably the main area of complexity being reserved for the arms. That’s not really to say that they’re particularly intricate, but more because of how stuff doesn’t really end up where you may expect, with random car panels hanging off in a slightly unorthodox manner. I guess you could say that the process may be fluid, but the result is perhaps not quite so elegant, as we’ll see.

OK, first things first, this does look relatively like Breakdown as he’s presented in the cartoon. I’d stop quite a bit short of saying it’s a dead ringer, but at least most of the main callbacks are all in situ in order to let you know who it’s meant to represent.

In some cases, that’s even true of finer details, such as the moulded vents on the shins, the raised dots on the thighs and the detail on the chest. And hey, even some of the proportions are pretty good in that respect too, especially in areas such as the upper body, which looks pretty good in terms of shape as an approximation of the animated source.

Where things get away from this design a little is in the face and the arms, the latter of which we’ll talk more about in just a moment. In terms of that noggin, I don’t dislike it at all but it really doesn’t scream the character to me either. It’s perfectly serviceable, but maybe just a little too stylised, somehow.

Right, those arms then. They’re definitely the major letdown on this guy in terms of design, let’s say that. Just the way everything ends up sort of plonked onto the sides of them is a bit of a mess, and it doesn’t even properly cover some of the holes required for transformation either, much less hide away the visible screw holes on the front of his biceps.

The result is an unappealing affair, never managing to quite look finished somehow. The legs have a little of this going on from the wrong angle here or there, and I’m definitely not a fan of the visual break created at the knees when they’re bent, but it’s nowhere near as noteworthy as the arms.

It’s a shame as actually there’s a decent load of articulation available here, meaning that Montana at least poses very nicely even if the result never quite feels all that graceful. Perhaps that’s also to do with some less-than-stellar joints, which forever threaten to give way during posing.

It’s not that he’s a floppy mess, you understand. He can pose nicely and can hold it well if you make sure to get him stood stably, but there really should be a better sense of a tight and quality product going on here overall. Instead he just feels a little loose and lacklustre.

A big part of that is the ankles too, which don’t necessarily do enough to prevent Montana toppling without a moment’s notice. Still, once you get him posed he does make the most of his lot.

The other thing that has bugged me to high heaven with this lad is that his gun simply does not tab, peg or fasten in any way to his hand, meaning that it forever wobbles around like anybody’s business. It’s such an unfathomable misstep in terms of design that you really have to wonder why a simple peg on the handle couldn’t have been easily utilised.

Sadly my complaints don’t end there. Despite the replacement parts that fixed up the flaws on the vehicle mode somewhat, there’s still too much evidence of paint scuffs and chipping in his robot form. The thighs bear by far the worst of it, with notable paint chips all the way down the sides straight out of the box. That’s unforgivable, frankly.

It’s a real shame as actually there are elements to like here, honestly. As I already mentioned, the articulation is on the whole very good, and there is something about the way that he’s able to pose that has the potential to be a lot of fun. If the quality control had been on point this would probably be a very different write-up, but as it is the whole endeavour ends up a bit of a disappointment.

As I mentioned last time, it’s when you start comparing this chap to other recent releases such as those from Ocular Max that you start to see the real chasm at play here. I was critical of Ocular Max Volatus for several elements of design, but at the very least that thing is well made, robust and a lot of fun to handle. There’s no doubt to me which is the better product here by far.

The really disappointing thing is that Montana could make for a great rendition of Breakdown on a Masterpiece-styled shelf. He at least fits the general look and feel required in order to gel well with figures from a variety of different companies.

He’s a sizeable beast though, and with DX9 having followed the same path as FansToys when it comes to scale, he ends up being noticeably larger than the likes of the Masterpiece Carbots. Quite how you feel about that is of course up to you, but I know I definitely prefer the idea of my Stunticons being a little on the smaller side.

He actually lines up at roughly eye level with Masterpiece Ironhide, meaning that he’s even a tiny bit taller than FansToys Spoiler overall.

That stature certainly makes him standout quite a bit in a Decepticon display. This will be quite the thing when all five DX9 team members are eventually available.

On that score, I really hope that the unofficial outfit pull it out of the bag with the remainder of this set. I already have their Capone in hand too and it’s a world away from Montana in terms of quality, so it again shows they can do it when they want to. In terms of which option best represents the standalone character of Breakdown, it may be best to look elsewhere though, as sadly this guy lives up to the name in all the wrong ways.

WHAT’S HOT? Nice enough car mode, fairly fluid transformation, decently-articulated robot mode in some regards.

WHAT’S NOT? Very poor quality, with numerous examples of paint chipping, scuffs, loose joints, and just poor execution. There are also some baffling design elements and unfortunate choices such as not having the gun peg into his hand.

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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